Collinet, Michel: Europe and its future

L’Europe et son avenir’, Esprit, vol. 13/6 (= No. 110), May 1945, pp. 773-88; extracts in Cahier de la Fédération Europénne No. 2, August 1945, pp. 30-2; passages here from pp. 773, 782-6, 788.
From W.Lipgens and W. Loth, Documents on the History of European Integration, De Gruyter, 1988


(…) A true democratic world federation of united nations would require that each state should be responsible for the direction of international affairs in proportion to its population, and in return should sacrifice a large measure of its sovereign rights, especially in political and economic matters. Even today, this is a Utopian ideal. It would only make sense if the political development of each nation converged with that of others so as to bring about a sufficient similarity of social systems. (…)

There is a new link among our countries which, while purely affective in character, is none the less very strong. It derives from the sufferings of a common martyrdom: among the French, Dutch and Yugoslav resistance movements there is a greater community of mind and heart than could ever have been conceived in peace-time. The demarcation line between love and hate no longer knows any national frontiers: it runs through each country and applies one marvellously simple criterion: were you for or against the Nazi murderers? Hence we have a bond of the kind that nations have had so much trouble in forging as a basis for their own existence, and a unique historical opportunity to use it to establish a community commensurate with the forces of the modern world, which we shall call the United States of Europe. (…)

A capitalist Europe can only be revived if German heavy industry is helped to its feet by the Allies. We know there is talk of ‘internationalizing’ that industry, but so far we have heard no details of its future organization. Behind governmental facades the same Anglo-American trusts, linked to their opposite numbers in Germany, may well reappear despite the indignant protest of the US Department of Justice. It is even possible that some may envisage the Atlantic bloc as a facade for this integration of German and American capitalism.

If so, and whether we are talking of a unified capitalist Europe or an Atlantic bloc, it must be repeated that, having passed through all the stages of decomposition of the capitalist economy, we in Europe shall once more become a battle-ground between two hostile economic systems.

Most European countries are, in varying degrees, in a transitional phase between capitalism and socialism. The old system can only be revived by massive aid from outside, and the new one is in a state of helpless infancy owing to the physical and moral destitution of the working masses. Any attempt to build a system in a single country is doomed to failure. France, surrounded by capitalist states, could not create a socialist economy, and still less could any other European country. But it should be the duty of a democratic France, taking seriously the interim programme of the Conseil National de la Résistance, to propose to other states, as their liberation progresses, the creation of a European New Deal for the prevention of starvation and unemployment, the restoration of transport and the distribution of credit. By means of such concrete measures designed to rescue the peoples of Europe, it should be possible to throw a bridge over the abyss of desolation into which they have been cast. France today is in a wretched state, but that is no reason why she should not try to promote a democratic order from which famine and fascism are excluded once and for all.

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